In early July, at Mount Sinai West hospital in New York, an ALS patient received an organ interface implant with a computer in a blood vessel from his brain – a product of the Synchron technology startup. This device, called stentrode, uses 16 electrodes to monitor brain activity and record the firing of neurons when a person thinks. He can then read the signals emitted by neurons, amplify them and send them to a computer or smartphone via Bluetooth.
This is how the stentrode translates the individual’s thoughts, allowing the person to recover capacities that the disease had already taken from him. The patient in the New York hospital is already in an advanced stage of sclerosis, has lost all his ability to speak and move. But Synchron doctors and researchers hope he can communicate by email and text messages, just thinking. An expectation that is right to exist.
Translating signals from neurons, implant allows people with the same degenerative disease as Stephen Hawking to use WhatsApp and send emails.